Sports Betting Glossary: Learn the Terms and Lingo


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Without a doubt, betting on sports is one the most popular gambling games on offer around the world. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of the game’s terms and lingo on our sports betting glossary

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Sports Betting Glossary: Introduction

Undoubtedly, the sports betting market is one of the biggest and most popular segments in the gambling industry. So far, the global sports betting market is showing no signs of slowing down, especially with the growing popularity of international sports events. 

Now, bettors are jumping at the chance to win big by betting on football, motorsports, and even kabaddi. However, one can reap some serious rewards here with the right guide, strategy, and most importantly a comprehensive sports betting glossary. 

A

Accumulator: This is one bet consisting of multiple selections which all must be correct for the bet to win. 

Action: This refers to the amount wagered on any given event. 

Added Game: This a game that normally isn’t part of the sportsbooks rotations of bets. 

Against the Spread (ATS): This refers to the point spread of a given contest. First, the favorite to win the contest is labeled with a (-) sign. In this case, a bettor wins their bet on the “Favourite” if the team wins the game by more points than the spread. On the other hand, the “Underdog” is given the (+) sign. Here, the bettor wins if the team losses by less than the spread or wins the game outright. 

Arbitrage (ARB): This occurs when the same game or contest is listed in two or more different markets but at different prices. 

B

Bad Beat: A bad beat is when a player’s bet in on the verge of winning but then becomes a losing ticket. 

Bankroll: The amount of money a player has available to spend on sports bets.

Bookie: Slang for a bookmaker. 

Bookmaker: A licensed individual or organization sets betting odds and accepts bets. 

Buying Points: This occurs when a player pays an extra amount to gain a more favorable line. 

C

Chalk: Slang for the favorite or the team that bookmarks except will win a given game or contest. 

Chalk Bettor: A name gives to a bettor who generally bets on the favorite of a given game or contest. 

Closing Line: These are the final betting odds or spread posted prior to the start of a competition. 

Circled Game: A game or contest that has betting limits usually due to factors such as bad weather or injury. 

Contrarian Betting: This is when a player places a bet on whom the public backs. 

sports betting glossary
It’s important to understand every expression

D

Dog: This is a slang term for the team that is expected to lose and is also short for the underdog. 

Draw: This refers to when neither the sportsbook nor the bettor wins in a given event. Furthermore, this often referred to as push. 

Drifting: This occurs when betting odds grow longer after the opening line is posted.  

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E

Edge: This refers to a bettor’s advantage against the house. 

Even Money: These are odds that return the exact amount of the original bet. 

Exotic Wager: This is a non-standard betting option that is beyond point spreads, moneylines, and game totals. For instance proposition bets, specials, and parlays.  

F

Favorite: This is a team or side that is expected to win a given game or contest. 

Field: In a proposition bet, players have the opportunity to bet on all the players or teams that aren’t listed. 

Fixed Odds: These are the odds that are agreed upon when a wager placed that also remain the same throughout the entire game or contest. 

Future Bets: This is a wager on an event that will take place in the near or distant future.

G

Getting Down: A slang term for a bettor making a bet.

H

Handicap Betting: A type of bet which involves making the playing field more even by giving or taking advantage of one of two teams. 

Hedging: This occurs when a player places a bet on the opposite side of their original bet to cut their losses or guarantee a profit. 

Hook: This is a half point that is added to point spreads and game total odds.  

Juice: This refers to the tax or the amount of money sportsbooks charge bettors to place a bet. 

Limit: This is the maximum amount of money that sportsbooks will allow players to wager on in a single event. 

Lines: Another name for the odds. 

Longshot: This is used to describe a selection in a given betting market that has the lowest odds of winning. 

Moneyline Bet: A bet placed on the outright winner. 

Off the Board: This is when a sportsbook won’t allow bettors to bet on a specific game or event. Often a sportsbook will take a game or event off the board if there is uncertainty regarding a player’s injury status or the weather. 

Over/Under Bet: This refers to the number set by a sportsbook that forecasts the total number of points scored between two teams. In this case, bettors wager on whether or not the combined scores of both teams will go over or remain under the number set by the sportsbook. 

sports betting glossary
Good luck!

P

Parlay: A bet that features two or more events all of which must win for players to receive a payout.  

Pick ’Em: A betting option where the odds are exactly the same on both sides. 

Proposition Bets: This refers to bet on a specific outcome of an event. For instance, the first team to score in a given game. 

Push: This refers to when neither the sportsbook nor the bettor wins in a given event. Furthermore, this also goes by the name draw. 

Real Time Odds: These are odds that move and change within the course of a given game or competition.

Return: The sum of money received from a winning wager. 

Runner: This refers to a person who makes a bet on behalf of another person. 

S

Sharp: This is the name given to an experienced or professional bettor. 

Square: This is the name given to an inexperienced bettor who usually only bet on their favorite player or team.  

Steam Move: A term used to describe the sudden and quick change of a betting line usually caused by the amount of money being wagered. 

T

Teasers: A type of bet where players can adjust the point spread or total for a game. However, the more a player changes the spread, the lower the payout becomes. 

Total Bets: This is a wager on the combined number of points, goals, or runs scored between two teams in a match. Here the bookmaker sets a total and players to wager on whether or not the actual total will be higher or lower. 

Tout: A sports betting expert who sells advice or picks. 

V

Vigorish: This refers to the commission a sportsbook makes on a bet. Also known as the vig or juice. 

Hopefully, you’re now set to try your hand at sports betting on the sites to win the jackpot. Furthermore, be sure to read our guide on how to choose the best betting site to put your sports betting glossary to the test. 

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